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Exercises Movements, technique & proper execution

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Old 06-16-2007, 08:25 PM   #1
Jared Brame
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Hello...first post here.

So, with much effort I finally managed to acquire and install a climbing rope for my backyard. Unfortunately, after a couple of climbs/swings, my elbows hurt like a ...well, like a lot.

I'm strong enough to make it up to the top, arms only, and I only weigh around 165-170...so it's not as if I'm putting THAT much stress on my arms. But...am I overdoing it? Do I need to learn the climbing w/legs technique?

Or are my elbow joints too weak? If so, will they get stronger with more climbing, or will I just be gradually destroying them, like a running back's knees on Astroturf?

Thanks,
Jared
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Old 06-17-2007, 01:18 AM   #2
Blair Robert Lowe
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How often have you climbed before?

I'm thinking if you can start climbing rope without legs, don't bother. It might be good to learn for workouts when you really get sore or fatigue or to save yourself from falling or continue on vs not climbing at all.

I didn't climb till I was college and never knew how to climb with my legs. I eventually sort of figured out how to do it when coaching kids, but would say, I still climb poorly with my legs all in all. However, I have been climbing poles for a long time as a kid with my legs, besides climbing whatever I could.

Maybe, upon each step of grabbing the rope, your jerking your elbow as you reach for the next grab?
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Old 06-17-2007, 06:01 AM   #3
Connie Morreale
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caveat: i am not in the medical field

sounds like tendonitis. i have been battling tennis elbow almost a year and thankfully its about 90% better now.
what bothers tennis elbow is gripping and wrist flexion, such as rope climbs. if the pain is on the lateral side as your arms hang by your side, that is where tennis elbow hits. if its medial (next to your body) it may be golfers elbow.
when i get a gallon of milk from the top shelf of the fridge, i can feel it. ditto any lateral movement(side lifting) of any weight.

see a doc if it inhibits you in training, or it is just a matter of time before it inhibits you in daily activities of life. i was given a elbow wrap that diplaces the leverage point of the tendon. it has helped me immensely.

good luck
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Old 06-17-2007, 07:41 PM   #4
Ian Holmes
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Jared I will follow the others by first positing two questions. Have you climbed much before? Are you letting your arms lock out when you are climbing?

I am guessing that it simply is due to the fact that your body is not used to the strain of climbing... and that you are jerky on your decent and that is adding strain to your elbows...
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Old 06-18-2007, 09:02 AM   #5
Roger Harrell
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Rope climb can really irritate some elbow injuries. Listen to your body. Learn the differences between join/connective pain and muscle pain. Do not do anything that irritates injuries. It just sidelines you longer and could lead to chronic problems. Work pullups on rings and other methods as much as you can without the pain, and work up to doing rope climb again.
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Old 06-18-2007, 10:42 AM   #6
Jared Brame
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Thanks for the responses. I'm not doing any Crossfit programs specifically; I'm just a guy who's been trying to get in shape for the last 7 months or so. Great successes so far, but this rope thing has been tough.

To answer the questions:

Blair--I don't think I'm doing any unnatural/jerky movements. I'll have to pay more attention to how I'm doing it.

Connie, the pain is on the outside of the arm, just above the elbow. I've NEVER had elbow trouble before.

Ian--I haven't been climbing much. The first time I tried in the last year was a few months ago at the Y. I tried it a few times, a couple of days apart. BIG time pain. I figured, okay, drop some body fat, keep doing other workouts, then try again in a few months. When I tried it again last weekend, I found it didn't really hurt, so I figured I was OK. I tried it a few times and...ow.

Can you explain what you mean by "locking out" my arms? And do you think with *careful* continuation of the exercise, I can get past this?

Roger--I have to agree--I'll continue using my kids' swing set for pull-ups and chin-ups. Fortunately, I've found that this particular pain doesn't interfere with my ability to do other arm-related exercises.

Thanks again, folks--
Jared
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Old 06-19-2007, 08:03 AM   #7
James R. Climer
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I've had Medial Tendonosis on the right side for past 2 years. I've stayed off the rope as much as possible, but it's just hanging there looking lonely, you know. I hit it about 1x per month to
see how I'm doing, and the rest is the only thing that helps. The pain from rope climbing is just recently gone.

I think for me it's the climb back down that does the most damage. So I recommend
using your legs for the climb back down and keep the elbows tracked in-line with wrists and shoulders as much as possible (that is, don't 'wing your elbows out from your sides too much).
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Old 06-19-2007, 10:15 AM   #8
Jared Brame
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James,

Sounds like a good idea--I'll have to try it that way.

Does anyone else here "rock" as they climb? By that, I mean, swing the legs left/right like a pendulum to get momentum for each pull. I just started doing that naturally and wonder if it's a technique likely to cause overstrain. I'm not sure, because the first couple of times I climbed and hurt my elbows, I hadn't come up with that technique yet.

Thanks,
Jared
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Old 06-19-2007, 02:24 PM   #9
Ian Holmes
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The number of ways to climb a rope are endless. Given rope is one of the circus acts that I do, well yes there are some climbs that use a rocking motion... but then you can also climb with flares, upside down, in L-straddle, and so on. With all of the different styles of climbing it is letting your body get used to the whole climbing thing.

Locking out your arms- letting them straighten fully on either the ascent or decent.

I still think it is the descent that is doing it to you, so I would side with James on the notion of climbing down with your feet.
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Old 06-20-2007, 06:15 AM   #10
Jared Brame
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Ian,

Flares??? :-)

I'm not doing the arm locking thing--thanks for the clarification. I will have to try descending using my feet--let's see if that helps.

What worries me is that the strain of arms-only climbing is still going to bother me. After all, that involves (momentarily) holding all one's body weight with a single arm. I may have to go to using my legs on the ascent.

Or maybe if I have my legs surgically removed and get helium balloons implanted in my buttocks... yeah, that's it.

Jared
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